And so here it is, a heart-wrenching but ultimately triumphant story of a woman named Lena Woodward, an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor, who asks Catherine and Liam to track down her childhood friend’s twin daughters, who had been lost while being transported to a concentration camp. Again, the historical details are compelling, if harrowing, and the pace brisk. The characters are memorable, as are the themes of friendship, courage and pain.
Saving Sophie was released today in Italy and I’ll be joining her soon. Garzanti Libri has arranged for several signings and interviews. June 10 in Viterbo at the Festiva Caffeina and on to Milano June 12-14. It’s a tough grind but I’ll just have to take the laboring oar and see it through. To borrow a phrase from my favorite doctor, “Oh the places you’ll go.” Caio
Recently, I had the privilege to appear on Rick Kogan’s enormously popular radio program. We talked about writing, we talked about Poland and we talked about Chicago. Here is a link to the podcast (our interview is #5)
Don’t miss this fascinating conversation between Agata Tuszynska, one of Poland’s most admired writers and historians, as she discusses her acclaimed new memoir, Family History of Fear, a wrenching journey in search of memory and identity with Ron Balson, a Chicago litigator, adjunct professor, and author of several novels about World War II including Saving Sophie, Once We Were Brothers, and the forthcoming Karolina’s Twins. They will be joined by author and award-winning journalist Greg Archer, whose latest book, Grace Revealed: A Memoir, chronicles his Polish family’s odyssey surviving Stalin’s wrath during the 1940s. Together they will discuss the memories of a painful chapter still present today and the journey ordinary families in Poland must confront as they come to terms with the the past. Book signing to follow. Participants: Agata Tuszynska, Ron Balson, and Greg Archer. Free and Open to the Public. Books on sale from 57th Street Books.
WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF BOOKS
This fast-paced, globe-spanning thriller takes readers from Hawaii to Hebron.
SAVING SOPHIE, Ronald H. Balson (Griffin): In Balson’s solid sequel to Once We Were Brothers, Chicago PI Liam Taggart and his fiancée, lawyer Catherine Lockhart, investigate an act of embezzlement complicated by links to a child kidnapping and terrorist activity in Hebron, Israel. Jewish accountant Jack Sommers, who’s hiding in Hawaii after helping misdirect an $88 million business transaction, is desperate to retrieve his six-year-old daughter, Sophie, from his late wife’s Palestinian father, Dr. Arif al-Zahani. FBI agent Jeff Miller and Kayla Cummings, who advises the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, join the investigation, because they believe the missing money could be funding an extremist group led by al-Zahani. Suspense fans will find few surprises in a novel that focuses on showing how the everyday people of both Israel and Palestine just want to live quiet, peaceful lives. Balson succeeds in illuminating the personal side of the Middle Eastern conflict through his deeply human, psychologically credible characters. Agent: Maura Teitelbaum, May Miller. (Sept.)